The Élysée Palace in Paris

January 1st, 2018 | Destination: | Rubric: General, Palaces, Castles, Manors, Parks, Paris |

© Remi Mathis(cc-by-sa-3.0

© Remi Mathis(cc-by-sa-3.0

The Élysée Palace has been the official residence of the President of France since 1848. Dating to the early 18th century, it contains the office of the President and the meeting place of the Council of Ministers. It is located near the Champs-Élysées in the 8th arrondissement of Paris, the name Élysée deriving from Elysian Fields, the place of the blessed dead in Greek mythology. Important foreign visitors are hosted at the nearby Hôtel de Marigny, a palatial residence. The architect Armand-Claude Molet possessed a property fronting on the road to the village of Roule, west of Paris (now the Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré), and backing onto royal property, the Grand Cours through the Champs-Élysées. He sold this in 1718 to Louis Henri de La Tour d’Auvergne, Count of Évreux (families: Dukes and Princes of Bouillon and Sedan: La Marck), with the agreement that Mollet would construct an hôtel particulier for the count, fronted by an entrance court and backed by a garden. The Hôtel d’Évreux was finished and decorated by 1722, and though it has undergone many modifications since, it remains a fine example of the French classical style. At the time of his death in 1753, Évreux was the owner of one of the most widely admired houses in Paris, and it was bought by King Louis XV as a residence for the Marquise de Pompadour, his mistress. In 1873, during the Third Republic, The Élysée became the official presidential residence.   read more…

The Orient Express

December 20th, 2017 | Destination: | Rubric: General, Hotels, Paris |

Orient Express Restaurant car © Epistola8/cc-by-sa-4.0

Orient Express Restaurant car © Epistola8/cc-by-sa-4.0

The Orient Express was a long-distance passenger train service created in 1883 by Compagnie Internationale des Wagons-Lits (CIWL). The route and rolling stock of the Orient Express changed many times. Several routes in the past concurrently used the Orient Express name, or slight variations. Although the original Orient Express was simply a normal international railway service, the name became synonymous with intrigue and luxury travel. The two city names most prominently associated with the Orient Express are Paris and Constantinople (Istanbul), the original endpoints of the timetabled service. The Orient Express was a showcase of luxury and comfort at a time when travelling was still rough and dangerous.   read more…

Palais Garnier in Paris

December 1st, 2017 | Destination: | Rubric: General, Opera Houses, Theaters, Libraries, Paris |

Palais Garnier © flickr.com - Peter Rivera/cc-by-2.0

Palais Garnier © flickr.com – Peter Rivera/cc-by-2.0

The Palais Garnier is a 1,979-seat opera house, which was built from 1861 to 1875 for the Paris Opera. It was called the Salle des Capucines, because of its location on the Boulevard des Capucines in the 9th arrondissement of Paris, but soon became known as the Palais Garnier, in recognition of its opulence and its architect, Charles Garnier. The theatre is also often referred to as the Opéra Garnier and historically was known as the Opéra de Paris or simply the Opéra, as it was the primary home of the Paris Opera and its associated Paris Opera Ballet until 1989, when the Opéra Bastille opened at the Place de la Bastille. The Paris Opera now mainly uses the Palais Garnier for ballet. The Palais Garnier has been called “probably the most famous opera house in the world, a symbol of Paris like Notre Dame Cathedral, the Louvre, or the Sacré Coeur Basilica.” This is at least partly due to its use as the setting for Gaston Leroux‘s 1910 novel The Phantom of the Opera and, especially, the novel’s subsequent adaptations in films and Andrew Lloyd Webber‘s popular 1986 musical. Another contributing factor is that among the buildings constructed in Paris during the Second Empire, besides being the most expensive, it has been described as the only one that is “unquestionably a masterpiece of the first rank.” This opinion is far from unanimous however: the 20th-century French architect Le Corbusier once described it as “a lying art” and contended that the “Garnier movement is a décor of the grave”. The Palais Garnier also houses the Bibliothèque-Musée de l’Opéra de Paris (Paris Opera Library-Museum), although the Library-Museum is no longer managed by the Opera and is part of the Bibliothèque Nationale de France, the museum is included in unaccompanied tours of the Palais Garnier.   read more…

Boulevard Haussmann in Paris

October 6th, 2017 | Destination: | Rubric: General, Paris |

Boulevard_Haussmann - Street sign © flickr.com - Sergio Calleja/cc-by-sa-2.0

Boulevard Haussmann – Street sign © flickr.com – Sergio Calleja/cc-by-sa-2.0

Boulevard Haussmann, 2.53 kilometres (1.57 mi) long between the crossings of Boulevard des Italiens / Boulevard Montmartre and Rue de Monceau / Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré from the 8th to the 9th arrondissement, is one of the wide tree-lined boulevards created in Paris by Napoleon III, under the direction of his Prefect of the Seine, Baron Haussmann. The Boulevard Haussmann is mostly lined with apartment blocks, whose regulated cornice height gives a pleasing eyeline to the Boulevard. The department stores Galeries Lafayette and Au Printemps are sited on this street.   read more…

Hotel Piscine Molitor in Paris

December 19th, 2016 | Destination: | Rubric: General, Hotels, Paris |

Piscine Molitor in 2015 © flickr.com - BikerNormand/cc-by-sa-2.0

Piscine Molitor in 2015 © flickr.com – BikerNormand/cc-by-sa-2.0

Piscine Molitor (Grands établissements balnéaires d’Auteuil) is a swimming pool and hotel complex located in Porte Molitor, 16th arrondissement of Paris. It is next to the park Bois de Boulogne, and between Stade Roland Garros and Parc des Princes. The complex was built in 1929 and inaugurated by Olympic swimmers Aileen Riggin, Matthew Gauntlett and Johnny Weissmuller. The pool is known for its Art Deco designs. The pool was classified as a French monument historique on 27 March 1990, after having fallen into disuse and closing in 1989. The swimming pool complex was rebuilt from scratch in the style of the previous design. The new complex includes two pools and a four star hotel. It opened in May 2014.   read more…

Latin Quarter of Paris

October 28th, 2016 | Destination: | Rubric: General, Paris, Universities, Colleges, Academies |

Crossing of Rue Mouffetard and Rue de l'Arbalète © LPLT/cc-by-sa-3.0

Crossing of Rue Mouffetard and Rue de l’Arbalète © LPLT/cc-by-sa-3.0

The Latin Quarter of Paris (French: Quartier latin) is an area in the 5th and the 6th arrondissements of Paris. It is situated on the left bank of the Seine, around the Sorbonne. The area gets its name from the Latin language, which was once widely spoken in and around the University since Latin was the language of learning in the Middle Ages in Europe.   read more…

Île de la Cité

October 5th, 2016 | Destination: | Rubric: General, Palaces, Castles, Manors, Parks, Paris |

© GuidoR/cc-by-sa-3.0

© GuidoR/cc-by-sa-3.0

The Île de la Cité is one of two remaining natural islands in the Seine within the city of Paris (the other being the Île Saint-Louis). It is the centre of Paris and the location where the medieval city was refounded. The western end has held a palace since Merovingian times, and its eastern end since the same period has been consecrated to religion, especially after the 10th-century construction of a cathedral preceding today’s Notre Dame. The land between the two was, until the 1850s, largely residential and commercial, but has since been filled by the city’s Prefecture de Police, Palais de Justice, Hôtel-Dieu hospital and Tribunal de commerce. Only the westernmost and northeastern extremities of the island remain residential today, and the latter preserves some vestiges of its 16th-century canon‘s houses.   read more…

Place de la Concorde in Paris

September 5th, 2016 | Destination: | Rubric: General, Paris |

Fountaine des Mers © Robert Raderschatt

Fountaine des Mers © Robert Raderschatt

The Place de la Concorde is one of the major public squares in Paris. Measuring 8.64 hectares (21.3 acres) in area, it is the largest square in the French capital. It is located in the city’s 8th arrondissement, at the eastern end of the Champs-Élysées. The place was designed by Ange-Jacques Gabriel in 1755 as a moat-skirted octagon between the Champs-Élysées to the west and the Tuileries Garden to the east. Decorated with statues and fountains, the area was named Place Louis XV to honor the king at that time. The square showcased an equestrian statue of the king, which had been commissioned in 1748 by the city of Paris, sculpted mostly by Edmé Bouchardon, and completed by Jean-Baptiste Pigalle after the death of Bouchardon. At the north end, two magnificent identical stone buildings were constructed. Separated by the rue Royale, these structures remain among the best examples of Louis Quinze style architecture. Initially, the eastern building served as the French Naval Ministry. Shortly after its construction, the western building became the opulent home of the Duc d’Aumont. It was later purchased by the Comte de Crillon, whose family resided there until 1907. The famous luxury Hôtel de Crillon, which currently occupies the building, took its name from its previous owners.   read more…

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